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It’s time to relaunch the News Dump today and we have plenty of news for the 2014 Senate cycle and maybe some tidbits of 2016?

Senate ’14

Michigan: Will Carl Levin Retire?

Longtime Michigan Senator Carl Levin has been coy about his future plans as he is up again for re-election in 2014.  Levin, one of the most senior Senators in the Senate, mentioned that he would make a decision in a “couple of weeks” which could very well mean we will know of his decision sooner rather than later.  Nonetheless, if Levin were to continue serving in the Senate; he should be able to coast to victory.  If he doesn’t run?  Michigan is a blue state but one that has been contested by Republicans heavily over the past few cycles.

If Levin were to retire, I’d expect Rep. Gary Peters to be the frontrunner for the nomination for the Democrats.  The Republican bench is plentiful but lacking a true frontrunner.  Rep. Justin Amash, a Ron Paul clone, would probably be the early frontrunner given his youth and decent name recognition though I can’t imagine the GOP establishment liking the idea of candidate Amash.

Kentucky:  The Ashley Judd Speculation Continues

Perhaps the most hyped up race of 2014 is one that hasn’t even started with a declared candidate for Team Blue.  But actress Ashley Judd has continued to be the target of enhanced speculation over her Senatorial ambitions.  Judd has yet to decide (though I’d have to imagine decision day is creeping closer) but appears to be doing a fine job of auditioning for a political run.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s approval ratings are very low.  I can’t imagine McConnell winning by 10+ points regardless of his opponent.  Still, Judd has it easy right now in the sense that all she is doing is building her profile up.  She’s becoming synonymous with political ambition as opposed to being just a famous actress.  However, could an ardent liberal who is opposed to mountaintop removal and has been a resident of neighboring Tennessee really win a race in Kentucky in an off-election year?  Stay tuned.

Louisiana: Could Mary Landrieu Survive A Tough Challenge?

News out of Louisiana is swirling that Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne is mulling a challenge to incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu.  Landrieu is widely seen as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the 2014 election cycle and given Louisiana’s red hue; you can’t blame those speculating about her potential ousting.

Nonetheless, Dardenne would probably be the strongest candidate to face her but I have reservations about him probably wanting to run for Governor in 2015.  Though Dardenne has stated that he “misses” debating and the legislative side of the Senate, I don’t know if he would be willing to go into a primary where he would be slightly a frontrunner instead of being able to likely coast to the gubernatorial nomination.  I fully expect Rep. Bill Cassidy to run and/or Rep. John Fleming than Jay Dardenne.

Some news out of Louisiana today is that Rep. Charles Boustany will not make a leap for the Republican nomination field.  Boustany, who won a runoff election against fellow Rep. Jeff Landry in December, was seen as one of many potential challengers to Sen. Mary Landrieu.

Still one less Republican candidate means the odds increase of the GOP coalescing around one candidate which could hurt Landrieu’s prospects for a fourth term even more.

North Carolina:  First Tea Party Challenger To Kay Hagan Announces

Alright, Dr. Greg Brannon is probably more of a “Some Dude” (to borrow a phrase from DailyKos Elections) than an actual contender for the Republican nomination.  However, Brannon apparently is Tea Party connected and the strength of that movement did propel Renee Elmers of North Carolina into the House in 2010, so we shouldn’t discount his candidacy entirely.

A PublicPolicyPolling poll last month had Brannon, in a crowded field, at about 5%.  Keep an eye on his candidacy as the endorsement of the Republican Liberty Caucus might help him.

Oregon:  Elizabeth Warren Fundraises for Jeff Merkley

Not the hugest or most breaking of all news, but I thought this tidbit was worth passing along to readers.  Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has made a career off of fighting Wall Street has sent out a letter to followers to raise money for fellow Wall Street fighter, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley.

This story is mildly interesting in two ways.  One, Elizabeth Warren is now testing her fundraising abilities for fellow Senators.  Warren still is a rock star amongst the political left and it’s curious if she has an eye on 2016, though that’s obviously a reaching statement.

Second though, we haven’t heard much noise from the race in Oregon.  Merkley by touting his connection to Elizabeth Warren is making it known that he’s an unabashed liberal who will not be trying to moderate his voting record.  Which is a great thing.

Race To The White House 2016

The Washington Post decided to gaze into their crystal ball and take a look at the 2016 Democratic Primary in Maryland.  Hillary Clinton trumps the field with 48% of the vote, Joe Biden was second at 14% with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley coming in third at 7%.  The poll has to be a bit of a downer for O’Malley who can’t even break double digits in his own home state.  Nonetheless, chalk up another state that is more than open for a Hillary Clinton candidacy.

You may have heard of Nate Silver once or twice in the past few months but he’s at it again taking a look at Arizona and Texas and the possibility of them turning blue.  Silver’s main thesis is that the Hispanic vote (up to 900,000 new Hispanic voters could enter the pool in Texas) could turn the states blue but it will all come down to turnout which means that it won’t be easy.

Nonetheless, for wonks this is a great post.

More coming soon!